Narratives and Diverging Memories in a Sino-Taiwanese Space of Interaction

 11/09/2023 / 11/09/2023

 10:00am - 12:00noon
 Room 1, Research Center for Humanities and Social sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei
Samia Ferhat (University of Paris-Nanterre/ UMRCCJ-EHESS)

The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC), Taipei Office presents a seminar :

From December 2009 until March 2010, in Paris, an experimental dialogue was established where ten Chinese and Taiwanese students engaged in conversations held in a “Sino-Taiwanese Dialogue on Cinema” Workshop. Beyond the framework of this four-month-long dialogue, these youths did express their views  and exchange in other settings, some of them strictly related to the scientific experiment, others of a strictly private nature: preparatory interviews and feedback sessions connected to the experiment (2009 – 2021); production and screenings of the documentary Le Temps des mots (2010 – 2016); meals, parties, outings, trips (2010 – 2016).

The issue of memory played a relatively minor role in the Workshop’s discussions. It was indeed during the individual interviews that the topic emerged in actuality. The participants told me the stories they had heard in their childhood, which often referred to the most significant episodes of their family’s history or of its most important figures. They also shared personal recollections with me.

In my presentation, I will more specifically dwell on the issue of transmission and narrative. I observe the inner family circle, questioning not only how family history has been passed down from generation to generation, but also the role played by collective memory, more specifically the national one, within the framework of intergenerational faits de communication (acts of communication cf. Marc Bloch). Several points will be addressed: the times and actors of transmission; the contents passed on or, on the contrary, restrained; the affects and emotions at the heart of the processes of recollection.

Professors Jean-Yves Heurtebise (FuJen Catholic University/ CEFC) and 蕭阿勤 A-Chin Hsiau (IOS, Academia Sinica) will be the discussants for this seminar.


Samia Ferhat is an Associate Professor at the University of Paris-Nanterre and a Researcher at the Centre for Research on Modern and Contemporary China (CECMC), a research body within UMR (Collective Research Centre) CCJ. Since 2017, she has been directing the Taiwan Studies Project programme at EHESS: https://frenchtaiwanstudies.org/

Samia Ferhat’s research interests lie with memory and the uses of the past in Taiwan and China, the representations attached to the history of the Republic of China and the historical and social imaginary of millennials, as well as the processes of establishing dialogue and peace-building. She has authored several pieces of scholarship, including Taïwan, île de mémoires (with Sandrine Marchand, 2011); Le Temps des mots – Un dialogue sino-taïwanais (2022) ; Taïwan – Chine, imaginaires croisés/海峽兩岸想像交織的記憶 (2023) ; Les Liens de la mémoire : itinéraires taïwanais (with Hsiao Achin and Sandrine Marchand, to be published by Presses de l’Inalco). She was awarded the “Prix de la Fondation culturelle franco-taïwanaise 2015” by the Académie française des sciences morales et politiques.

The seminar will be held in English.